The billboard campaign is solely designed to stick a thumb in Cleveland's eye and not to promote Greenville as the superior location for a new federal building. After all, it's Greenville which must tell itself that "it believes in Greenville." Cleveland couldn't care less.
This issue, to me, reflects other concerns than a federal building because I see it as a test for the Greenville community leaders who profess to have the contacts and means to influence higher elected officials. It also reflects Washington County's influence on the greater political sphere.
The maverick political attitude (refusing the state flag, for instance) and the "My highway or the highway" notions regarding political dissent and challenge will be sorely tested. Alliances with Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick will be tested as an outreach for a better Greenville or outreach for a better political career for personal gain.
Where's Congressman Thompson? Will he enter a fight within the boundaries of his own 2nd Congressional District? It's easy to pick fights on national issues; now a local issue starts festering.The state representatives are there to a degree but they're confined to regional influence. Give them credit for their attempts at influence.At the day's end, consider the Good Ole Boy factor in making this federal building issues such a nasty exercise in the "We're a better choice" debate.
Washington County voters have selected - with about 70% support - to try to elect the team that isn't in power given prior election trends.Governor Barbour offered an economic trojan horse in Textron upon his election; it was a one-sided deal and a tease for people needing permanent employment. Throwing those kinds of "bones" doesn't help and reveals that if you don't help the powerful, they'll not help you in substantive ways. It's the way of the political world.
Given the track record, there's no reason to expect the backroom assistance at this point from the leadership despite public lip service.Public pressure is the best medicine and it shouldn't abate until someone stirs.By the way, John Clark wrote a good piece in Sunday's DDT on the "blame game."
I know there's a sentiment that the paper, somehow, gave Cleveland leaders a great idea by writing that Cleveland might be another option for a federal building, but his opinion makes sense. He's been in Greenville three years (he writes), and I'm seeing the customary track of the good-intentioned journalist play out to course.
The first year, one believes he/she can make a difference. "Year Two" is spent defending or refusing the gut feeling that something's not quite right with leaders' thoughts. "Year Three" - you determine that it's time to begin saying things you should've said after "Year One," when you knew better but couldn't believe what you were learning.
Oh Mr. Clark - your subscribers will bloom if you follow the course of dosing the bitter pills with the sweet elixer of community news coverage.